Remembering Anthony Bourdain Through 25 of His Greatest Quotes

Remembering Anthony Bourdain Through 25 of His Greatest Quotes

Anthony Bourdain lives on through his most powerful words on travel, food, and life.

By Tamara Palmer
Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain would have turned 62 on June 25, and his friends Eric Ripert and José Andrés have arranged to celebrate his life and indelible memory on that occasion, which they've proclaimed #BourdainDay.

In honor of the day, we're remembering Bourdain's consummate wit and wisdom with some of his most memorable quotes about food, travel, sex, and life from his enduringly beloved books. 

Reflect, enjoy, and share with a friend who needs some of Bourdain's signature wisdom.

“An ounce of sauce covers a multitude of sins." — Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly

"If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go.” — Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” — No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach

“Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life – and travel – leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks – on your body or on your heart – are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt.” — The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones.​​​​​​

“To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demi-glace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living. Vegetarians are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit, an affront to all I stand for, the pure enjoyment of food.” — Kitchen Confidential

“PETA doesn't want stressed animals to be cruelly crowded into sheds, ankle-deep in their own crap, because they don't want any animals to die – ever — and basically think chickens should, in time, gain the right to vote. I don't want animals stressed or crowded or treated cruelly or inhumanely because that makes them probably less delicious.” — Medium Raw

“It was once said that this is the land of the free. There is, I believe, a statue out there in the harbor, with something written on it about "Give me your hungry...your oppressed...give me pretty much everybody"-that's the way I remember it, anyway. The idea of America is a mutt-culture, isn't it? Who the hell is America if not everybody else? We are-and should be-a big, messy, anarchistic polyglot of dialects and accents and different skin tones.... We need more Latinos to come here. And they should, whenever possible, impregnate our women.” — The Nasty Bits

“Remember, brunch is only served once a week — on the weekends. Buzzword here, 'Brunch Menu'. Translation? 'Old, nasty odds and ends, and 12 dollars for two eggs with a free Bloody Mary'.” — Kitchen Confidential

“But I do think the idea that basic cooking skills are a virtue, that the ability to feed yourself and a few others with proficiency should be taught to every young man and woman as a fundamental skill, should become as vital to growing up as learning to wipe one’s own ass, cross the street by oneself, or be trusted with money.” — Medium Raw

“You might get the impression from the specifics of my less than stellar career that all line cooks are wacked-out moral degenerates, dope fiends, refugees, a thuggish assortment of drunks, sneak thieves, sluts and psychopaths. You wouldn't be too far off base.” — Kitchen Confidential

“I have long believed that it is only right and appropriate that before one sleeps with someone, one should be able—if called upon to do so—to make them a proper omelet in the morning. Surely that kind of civility and selflessness would be both good manners and good for the world. Perhaps omelet skills should be learned at the same time you learn to f***. Perhaps there should be an unspoken agreement that in the event of loss of virginity, the more experienced of the partners should, afterward, make the other an omelet—passing along the skill at an important and presumably memorable moment.” — Medium Raw

“I know what I want. I want it all. I want to try everything once.” — Kitchen Confidential

“We know, for instance, that there is a direct, inverse relationship between frequency of family meals and social problems. Bluntly stated, members of families who eat together regularly are statistically less likely to stick up liquor stores, blow up meth labs, give birth to crack babies, commit suicide, or make donkey porn. If Little Timmy had just had more meatloaf, he might not have grown up to fill chest freezers with Cub Scout parts.” — Medium Raw

“Good food and good eating are about risk.” — Kitchen Confidential

“I have since found that almost everybody in the meat business is funny — just as almost everyone in the fish business is not.” — Kitchen Confidential

“That without experimentation, a willingness to ask questions and try new things, we shall surely become static, repetitive, moribund.” — Medium Raw

“People confuse me. Food doesn't.” — Kitchen Confidential

“I’m through being cool. Or, more accurately, I’m through entertaining the notion that anybody could even consider the possibility of coolness emanating from or residing anywhere near me. As any conscientious father knows in his bones, any remaining trace elements of coolness go right out the window from the second you lay eyes on your firstborn. The second you lean in for the action, see your baby’s head make that first quarter-corkscrew turn toward you, well … you know you can and should throw your cherished black leather motorcycle jacket right in the nearest trash bin. Clock’s ticking on the earring, too. It’s somehow … undignified now.” — Medium Raw

“And I had my first oyster. Now, this was a truly significant event. I remember it like I remember losing my virginity — and in many ways, more fondly. August” — Kitchen Confidential

“As incisively pointed out in the documentary 'Food Inc.', an overwhelmingly large percentage of 'new,' 'healthy,' and 'organic' alternative food products are actually owned by the same parent companies that scared us into the organic aisle in the first place. 'They got you comin' and goin' has never been truer.” — Medium Raw

“The Ecuadorian, Mexican, Dominican and Salvadorian cooks I've worked with over the years make most CIA-educated white boys look like clumsy, sniveling little punks." — Kitchen Confidential

“It’s very rarely a good career move to have a conscience.” — Medium Raw

“I do have a heart, you see. I’ve got plenty of heart. I’m a fucking sentimental guy – once you get to know me. Show me a hurt puppy, or a long-distance telephone service commercial, or a film retrospective of Ali fights or Lou Gehrig’s last speech and I’ll weep real tears. I am a bastard, when crossed, though, no question.” — Kitchen Confidential

“From my vantage point in a busy working kitchen, when I’d see Emeril and Bobby on the tube, they looked like creatures from another planet—bizarrely, artificially cheerful creatures in a candy-colored galaxy in no way resembling my own. They were as far from my experience or understanding as Barney the purple dinosaur—or the saxophone stylings of Kenny G. The fact that people—strangers—seemed to love them, Emeril’s studio audience, for instance, clapping and hooting with every mention of gah-lic, only made me more hostile." — Medium Raw

“Everyone should be encouraged at every turn to develop their own modest yet unique repertoire—to find a few dishes they love and practice at preparing them until they are proud of the result. To either respect in this way their own past—or express through cooking their dreams for the future. Every citizen would thus have their own specialty. Why can we not do this? There is no reason in the world. Let us then go forward. With vigor.”  — Medium Raw

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